One of ExxonMobil’s prime contractors is SBM offshore, a Dutch company. Exxon awarded billions of dollars to this firm, so it can build and maintain a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading Vessel (FPSO) that will operate in the Stabroek Block.
But it was only yesterday that the Wall Street Journal reported that two former executives of the Dutch oil-services firm were sentenced to prison for violating U.S. foreign bribery law.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Anthony Mace was SBM’s Chief Executive Officer from 2008 to 2011. Mace was sentenced to three years in prison and was ordered to pay a US$150,000 fine. Robert Zubiate, a former SBM Offshore sales executive, received 30 months in prison and has to pay a $50,000 fine. They were sent to prison on Friday.
They each pleaded guilty in November 2017 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a scheme to bribe foreign officials in Brazil, Angola and Equatorial Guinea. The FCPA bars the use of bribes to foreign officials to get or keep business.
Mace had admitted that he continued an existing scheme to pay bribes to officials at state-owned companies in those three countries. He also admitted to deliberately avoiding learning that the payments were bribes.
Zubiate admitted that he and his co-conspirators used a third-party sales agent for 16 years to pay bribes to officials at Petróleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, in exchange for their help in getting contracts for SBM Offshore and its U.S. unit.
The Wall Street Journal noted that SBM Offshore agreed in late November 2017 to pay $238 million to resolve allegations that it had violated the FCPA in its operations in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq.
In 2014, the company agreed to pay $240 million to Dutch authorities over similar allegations. SBM Offshore separately struck a leniency deal in 2016 with Brazilian authorities, agreeing to pay $341.8 million.
Petrobras, for its part, on Thursday struck its own corruption settlement, agreeing to pay $853.2 million to Brazilian and U.S. authorities to resolve one of the largest corruption schemes ever uncovered.
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